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Sunday 01 December 2002

Phase I study of paclitaxel and topotecan for the first-line treatment of extensive-stage small cell lung cancer.

By: West W, Birch R, Schnell F, Hainsworth J, Tongol J, Campos L.

Oncologist 2003;8(1):76-82

Extensive-stage small cell lung cancer (SCLC) is an aggressive disease with a median survival of approximately 8 months. Although current combination chemotherapy regimens provide high initial tumor response rates, they have not translated into large gains in survival. Topotecan and paclitaxel have nonoverlapping mechanisms of action and are active agents in SCLC. Additionally, these two agents demonstrate in vitro synergy in animal and human tumor models. We investigated the maximum tolerated dose of 3-day topotecan in combination with paclitaxel in previously untreated patients with extensive SCLC. Seventeen patients were enrolled in an open-label, phase I, dose-escalation study and were treated with intravenous paclitaxel 135-175 mg/m(2) over 1 hour on day 1, followed by intravenous topotecan 1.25-1.5 mg/m(2) over 30 minutes on days 1-3 of a 21-day course. Sixty-nine courses of therapy were administered with no delays due to hematologic toxicity. Prophylactic hematologic support was required for 24% of patients. The topotecan/paclitaxel combination was well tolerated, with 24%, 12%, and 6% of patients experiencing grade 3/4 neutropenia, anemia, or thrombocytopenia, respectively. Dose-limiting neutropenia was seen in three of five patients treated with topotecan 1.5 mg/m(2) and paclitaxel 175 mg/m(2). Therefore, topotecan 1.5 mg/m(2) with paclitaxel 135 mg/m(2) was determined to be the maximum tolerated dose. Of the 17 evaluable patients, 53% achieved a partial response and 18% achieved stable disease. In summary, we have identified a regimen of topotecan 1.5 mg/m(2) and paclitaxel 135 mg/m(2) that was well tolerated and active in this patient group. Additional studies of topotecan and paclitaxel at these dose levels are needed to fully elucidate the efficacy of this combination in extensive SCLC.

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